POST 14, August 7, 2017
It is with a heavy heart that GMCG and friends across the Ossipee Watershed bid farewell to Ned Hatfield of Freedom. Our thoughts go out to Ned’s family and friends and his sweet wife Pat. May his spirit continue to guide us all and help us share a bit more passion for the amazing critters we find in our waters. May we also be inspired by his curiosity and wonder at the natural world.
Ned first came to GMCG via our friends at the Saco River Corridor Commission. He had heard that we wanted to start a water quality program and he approached us looking to help with setting that up as a volunteer. He also began to talk to us about forming a macroinvertebrate program where we would incorporate that as part of our water quality monitoring program. Given that we still were working off the kitchen table, had virtually had no staff and hadn’t even begun the water quality program yet, this seemed like a complete impossibility.
Ned leading a training on how to capture macroinvertebrates using a net in Cold Brook, Freedom.
In 2001 when we started our water quality monitoring program, Ned was one of the first volunteers to adopt a stream and commit to sample water quality every other week from April through October.
Ned Hatfield and GMCG Staff member Jennifer Smith 2003
As time went on, and we moved into our first office in Freedom, Ned would stop by and share books, bugs and maps with us. He was passionate about all things water and shared with us a love of “bugs” that was contagious. I remember joking with him sometimes because he always wanted us to hire him as our “bug expert.” We still did not have a program and only part time staff and I would laugh and remind him that if he could write a grant and find the funds we would happily hire him to run this program.
The first few years of the GMCG macro program were focused mostly on adult volunteers. Ned helped train adults and later area youth. In 2006 the program evolved to be a youth based program where 4th 5th and 6th graders help as citizen scientists and collect water quality data.
In time, Program Director Tara Schroeder did move forward to create the macroinvertebrate program and relied heavily for Ned for his input, expertise and teaching skills to help train volunteers and work with school children.
Barbara Bald and Ned Hatfield help students identify macroinvertebrates collected in local streams.
Every year Ned would help with the GMCG macroinvertebrate program. He was the “bug expert” for the day and kids would bring bugs that they couldn’t identify to his table. If he too couldn’t identify them, he would show the kids how to use the guide book to identify them. No bug was considered “boring”. I remember seeing delight even when kids brought him funky worms. One day they brought him a strange bright green bug that he couldn’t identify. He promptly put it in alcohol and went home to try to find out what it was. He was diligent to then get back to that class to let them know what he found.
Ned was generous, patient, giving and brilliant and we will miss his help and his wonderful enthusiasm. The VBAP program will never be quite the same.
I will always think of him when I happen upon my own favorite macroinvertebrate—the caddisfly—something I didn’t even know existed until I met Ned.
Peaceful Blessings dear Ned and our heartfelt thoughts to Ned’s family.
In celebration of Green Mountain Conservation Group’s 20th Birthday (May 1, 1997-May 1 2017) we will be posting Memories on Mondays in May through September on the GMCG Facebook page and on our website www.gmcg.org. If you would like to be part of this journey please “like” Green Mountain Conservation Group on our Facebook page. We are trying to raise funds for our new home—-The Patricia and Charles Watts Conservation Center also known as the Blue Heron House on the Ossipee River and expansion of staff needed to run our programs. We are doing this online through this campaign by asking you to consider a gift of $20 in honor of our 20th Birthday. Do you have a connection to the Ossipee Watershed? Did you know a former staff person or Board member over the past 20 years who you would like to honor? Can you also invite your own friends and families who have connections to this Watershed or a specific person and ask for a contribution too? Please feel free to forward our posts and information. THANK YOU.
Donations can be made to : CLICK HERE
Each gift of $1000 raised in a specific person’s name will honor that person with a plaque on a rocking chair. For example—if you send in a donation of $20 in a staff or previous board member’s name, that will be tracked and recorded as a gift to honor that specific person. If you can help by inviting 50 friends to do the same then you will have helped raise $1000 and that person and you will have your name on one of our porch rocking chairs.
Blair Folts, GMCG Executive Director
To access previously posted 20 Years of Memories, look to the right hand margin.